Catherine challenges unfair reforms package

Catherine McKinnell, Labour MP for Newcastle North, has voiced her anger over government plans to redraw constituencies and change the voting system without proper consultation.

Speaking about today’s debate on the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, Ms McKinnell stated, ‘While I support a referendum offering a choice between alternative vote and first-past-the-post, I cannot back a Bill which combines this objective with entirely unrelated changes that will gerrymander, leave millions unregistered and deny women and minority groups good parliamentary representation.’

Ms McKinnell, a member of the Constitutional Reform Select Committee has already raised this issue with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who was forced to concede to Ms McKinnell that the Lib Dems were ‘spectacularly unrepresentative’ of modern Britain.

‘Why is the government so keen to wrap up so many separate proposals into a single take-it-or-leave-it deal? This rush to cut and redraw seats is being taken in full knowledge that by doing so millions of eligible voters will be missing, boundary calculations will be wrong, urban areas will be under-represented and the electoral map distorted to favour the Lib-Cons. This is fundamentally undemocratic and clearly contradicts the lofty justifications voiced by Mr Clegg.

‘Why has adequate time in Parliament to allow proper scrutiny of these proposals not been given? Why have exemptions been made to exclude Lib Dem seats in Scotland? Why has the right to hold public enquiries into the decisions of the Boundary Commission been axed? In short, this Bill prompts far more questions than it answers and will impose a top-down, hasty and undemocratic system that nakedly seeks to strengthen the coalition at the expense of our democracy.’